ROCKPORT, MASS. (WHDH) - Rockport harbormasters raced to the rescue Tuesday to help a father and daughter after the pair’s boat struck wreckage from a 1940s shipwreck and began sinking. 

The incident happened behind the outer breakwater at Rockport Harbor. When help arrived, Harbormaster Scott Story said he and fellow Harbormaster Rosemary Lesch found the pair perched on a small section of their 40-foot boat that was still above water.

“They were holding on for dear life,” Story said. 

“Nothing except for four feet of the bow was showing,” Story separately said. 

The father and daughter had just picked up their new boat in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and were in the process of driving it south to North Carolina when the harbormasters said they unknowingly went into dangerous territory. 

Despite buoys marking the decades-old 1940s shipwreck, Story said the boaters hit the wreckage. 

“That sunk them very quickly,” Lesch said.

The boater’s radio died in the middle of talking to the Coast Guard. The father and daughter got lucky, though, and were able to call the police from a cell phone. 

Police then helped the harbormasters get to the father and daughter, arriving at their boat with little time to spare.

“Somehow, as it sank, they worked their way to the bow and that was what was left that was out of the water,” Lesch said.

“They were determined not to go into the water and were really happy to get in our boat,” Story said. 

Lesch continued, calling the situation “a good save.”

The father and daughter who were on the boat were picked up by the daughter’s mother who was driving along the coast and following the pair on their trip. 

The boat itself was underwater as of Thursday afternoon and will have to be raised by a salvage company, officials said.

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